Håkon Angell Bolkan is a general surgeon at Trondheim University Hospital, where he mainly manages emergency and trauma surgery. He has more than 15 years of experience in global international health. Håkon served as the President of MSF Norway between 2009 and 2011. In 2011 he founded CapaCare,, a non-profit organization offering medical training in areas where health care workers are scarce. Balkon’s main research interests are surgical health systems in low-income countries. We asked him why he thinks the Dutch postgraduate training programme ‘Global Health and Tropical Medicine’ is important and why he supports our campaign.
‘’Both as the CEO of a humanitarian medical organisation and during my research on surgical systems in low income countries, I have for many years had the privilege to work closely with Dutch global health doctors. Their unique set of skills, knowledge, motivation and attitude have inspired both our local and international staff. Their broad perspective, the focus on cost-effectiveness, the focus on health system improvements gained by working in highly under-resourced areas, make these doctors highly important, also in well-resourced settings like the Netherlands.
The recent West-African Ebola outbreak was an important wake-up call, demonstrating that failed health care systems may turn small epidemics into large global threats. In the same way as climate change demands international collaboration and solutions, many health issues demand similar international approaches. By spearheading programmes where the focus is to innovate, transform, improve and rationalize, often under very challenging conditions, the Dutch global health doctors are an important part of the development of healthcare systems in resource poor countries, and build invaluable bridges to our Western health systems.’’
Håkon A. Bolkan MD, PhD
Department of surgery, Trondheim University Hospital, Norway
Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, NTNU, Norway
Chairman of the board, CapaCare
For more information about CapaCare, visit https://capacare.org